Saturday, August 24, 2013

Microphone Practice?

Dear Ava, 

You make such cute faces. I love how your yawn looks like you are practicing holding and singing into a microphone. 





 
 




 


 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Seeing Joe Off

Dear Ava,
This morning we dropped your daddy off at the airport. I managed to not cry until we arrived at the airport, but then the waterworks started. It is a good thing he was driving because I probably would have turned the car around with him in it and driven back home. His goodbye to you was very sweet, though you managed to sleep through it. Yesterday he asked if he could take you back to Korea with him. I wish we were all going there together, or all staying here. When we arrived home I took you upstairs to feed you and I proceeded to cry for a while. You will look so different the next time he sees you in person. You will no longer be a teeny tiny newborn with limbs that look so frail and thin. Already, you cheeks, chin, and tummy seem to be plumping up a bit and you look a little older each day. Do you have to gow up so quickly?
Snuggling while missing Joe/Daddy


 


Ava's First Growth Spurt

Dear Ava, 

Today is your daddy's last full day in the States before he returns to Korea. We most likely wont see him again until November. I had hoped that our little family could enjoy some time out of the house together during his last two days, but I did not account for or even know about you first growth spurt at 10 days of age. 

Ava and Daddy

You are currently sleeping peacefully in my arms as I sit downstairs in the living room.  You appear so peaceful, but appearances are deceiving. The price I am paying for this peace is in the form of the purple pacifier in your mouth....which you just spit out. I had hoped to go with the recommendation to wait until you are 4 weeks or so of age before introducing one, but as with most things so far, reality laughs at my plans. I am guessing the next round of feedings will soon commence. 

Briefly calm after a feeding during the growth spurt

The two hour break between the end of the last feeding and now is greatly appreciated. I was able to eat, shower, get laundry started, and organize a bit while grandma held you. Unfortunately, I did not sleep. 

Sleep is something both your daddy and I have not had much of recently. From midnight to 1:30pm you nursed at least every hour, if not twice an hour, and would not sleep unless you were held. Daddy and I caved at 7am and enlisted Grandma Fenton's help to hold you in-between feedings so that we could get short catnaps. Beware of the growth spurt that happens at 7-10 days old!

Ava's preferred way to sleep

The two hour break starting at 1:30 pm is due to Grandma  Fenton asking if i was philosophically opposed to pacifiers. Despite my wishes to delay giving you one, Daddy and I had already tried sometime in the wee hours of the morning. you sucked on it for maybe 2 minutes before spitting it out and becoming even more mad. However, when Grandma Fenton gave it a try and it worked! I would say that my plan is to not give you pacifiers very often, but since all my plans seem to go out the window I am not making any such plan. 

Thursday, February 24, 2011

It's Been Awhile

Dear Blog, it's been a while (over 1.5 years to be exact) since I last wrote to you. While I was at West Point I wrote quite often but pretty much ignored you after my first deployment in 2005. I did end up leaving the Active Duty Army after I finished a year in Korea, though I ended up joining the Reserves. I started down the path to become an elementary school teacher, but then realized that I'm far too introverted and also miss the military intelligence world too much to continue on that path. Now I spend my days working out and taking care of my niece and nephew (pictured above) as I try and decide what I want to be when I grow up. Of course, some of my time is spent taking trips back to Korea to visit my wonderful boyfriend.

I'd love to start blogging again in the future, but I think I need to work on my photography skills first. The blogs I enjoy reading have a great balance of photographs and writing, while you, dear blog, are mostly writing. I'm sorry to say, but this may mean that we need to part ways. Please don't take it too hard. At least I'm telling you this instead of continuing to ignore you. You can feel comfort in the fact that I haven't started a new blog...yet.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Cost Benefit Analysis

I know that I do not want to make a career out of being in the Army, but yet I do not have any clear idea of what I would around this time next year if I were to get out of the Army at the first available opportunity. It’s not for lack of trying to come up with ideas of what to do next, and perhaps no neon arrow pointing the direction I should go on 12 July 2010, but I’m at least trying to narrow down my possible courses of action. One option that I know is available to me here in Korea is the incentive program to extend my tour by a year. This in itself is worthy of it’s own analysis, but for now I’m only considering how any additional time in service will affect my post-9/11 GI Bill benefits (http://www.gibill.va.gov/GI_Bill_Info/CH33/Post-911.htm/). Under the GI Bill you are granted tuition assistance, a monthly housing allowance, and a yearly stipend for books.

I’ve made many assumptions and generalizations while doing my cost benefit analysis and I’m not going to spell most of them out, though I know that would be the proper thing to do. I will say that I decided to use the cost of one year of studying for a Masters in Early Childhood Education from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Three consecutive terms made up of nine credits each comprise the year resulting in a cost of $8,816/term or $24,448/year. One other assumption is that the basic housing allowance provided under the GI Bill for Ann Arbor is $997/month or $11,964/year.

My initial obligation to the Army is complete on 28 May 2010. To be eligible for any amount of the GI Bill I need to stay in at least 90 days past that date, or until 27AUG 2010. To be on the safe side I’ve added one extra day to each of my calculations of how long I would have to stay in. If I stay in until 27 AUG I will receive 40% of the benefits of the GI Bill.

Active Duty Completed..............Date................% Max Benefit Payable
At least 36 months..............28 May 2013..................100%
30 months to 36 months............NA...........................90%
24 months to 30 months............NA...........................80%
18 months to 24 months....27 NOV 2011...................70%
12 months to 18 months....29 May 2011....................60%
6 months to 12 months......27 NOV 2010...................50%
90 days to 6 months...........27 AUG 2010...................40%

If I were to stay in for an extra 36 months IOT recieve full benefits, then the amount of money I would receive would be as follows:

ETS./Benefit %/Tuition (3 terms)/Housing/Books/Total

28MAY10...100%...$26,448.00..$11,964.00...$1,000.00...$39,412.00

Since I don’t plan on being in the Army until 2013, this is the breakdown of what I would receive depending on if I spend an extra year in Korea or not. Though the last ETS date is May 29, 2011, I would actually have to stay in Korea until July 11, 2011 if I do an extra year. The 50% calculation is thrown in just for fun.

ETS/Benefit %./.Tuition (3 terms)./Housing/Books/Total

27AUG10....40%....$10,579.........$4,785.60......$400.00.....$15,764.80

27NOV10...50%....$13,224.0 .....$5,982.00.......$500.00.....$19,706.00

29MAY11...60%....$15,868.80....$7,178.40......$600.00.....$23,647.20

27NOV11...70%....$18,513.60....$8,374.80......$700.00.....$27,588.40

The 50% calculation is thrown in just for fun. The 70% calculation would be if I went to the Career Course right after Korea and then only did my mandatory one year at my new duty station before getting out, though it would take a huge change of mind for me to go that route.

A very broad generalization is that the difference between me doing one year or two years in Korea is $7,882.40 per year in tuition assistance if I decide to go back to school after I get out of the Army. If I went to the career course instead of getting out getting out right after Korea (see career course assumptions in above paragraph), then it’d be a difference of $11,823.60 per year in tuition assistance.

Decisions...decisions...

20 Years Ago

This morning one of the CW4's I work with was trying to set the stage for a story and asked where I was 20 years ago...he seemed shocked when I said kindergarten. After his initial shock wore off he continued on with the story stating that 20 years ago he was a PFC in Panama.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

First Impression

11 July 09 - Korean Air
So far so good. Luggage was a bit over, but dad paid the extra cost. I'm in a window seat in a 3 person row. The seat is comfy enough with leg room. Next time I'll send more clothes ahead of me so that I don't have to carry them. The plane is nice and the flight attendents are kind so far. there is a small bottle of water, a blanket, headphones, and a little case containing socks, a toothbrush (I think), and an eye cover if you want to sleep. The only thing lacking so far is an outlet to plug in my computer.

Just had my first Korean meal...kinda. I don't know if the plane counts. I had Bibimbap which consists of some vegies (spinich, some sort of root, sprouts of some sort, mushrooms, etc.), sesame oil, rice, and a hot pepper paste. There was also a seaweed soup, a pickle dish, and fruit for dessert. Oh, and free wine.

There is a couple in my row who have a small baby. The flight attendant brought out a bassinet thing that attaches to the wall in front of them that the baby can sleep in.

12 July 09 -First Impressions of Korea
The countryside is rather beautiful with lots of large hills covered in lush green trees and other vegetation. The temp is probably in the eighty's, but it is very humid and the sky is completly overcast. I had the exact same thought as the Soldier sitting behind me on the bus to Yongson, though he was the one who actually voiced it. We both noted that it's nice to be on bus where we can look out the windows and see the country, unlike the buses from the airport in Kuwait when we were deployed where the curtains were kept shut and we where warned not to peek out the window. There are lots of rivers and wetlands here as well as the sea, though the wetlands appear cultivated or at least void of the mess of vegetation one would see in the states. The vehicles on the road are fairly new looking for the most part and mainly consist of mid sized sedans and SUVs. The roads are well paved and free of trash and debris. So far I haven't noticed any strange smells, though many people told me that would me the first thing that would hit me when I got off the plane.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

New Quarters

I’m sitting at the computer in my new quarters enjoying having a place to call home for the next year. The place is rather spacious, though only if you were expecting something the size of a broom closet to start with. I’ve found that if I keep my expectations low usually they’ll end up being surpassed. I’m a pessimistic optimist, or perhaps I’m an optimistic pessimist. I think ahead and plan for the worst case scenario, but deep down I know that it likely won’t happen. However, since I’ve set my expectations so low to start with I end up coming away happy when they are surpassed by any extent.

Let me start by describing the wonderful qualities of my new quarters. First off, I have my own place which is always a huge plus (and by place I mean room in the CPTs quarters on post). Upon opening my front (and only) door guests will quickly be able to make themselves at home because on their immediate right is a full size fridge/freeze which they can easily access to get the cold beverage of their choosing. Should they want a warm snack instead, the microwave is conveniently situated atop the fridge. If my guest decides he/she wants a glass of water instead then all he/she must do is walk one or perhaps two steps if they are vertically challenged, and they will find themselves in front of the kitchen sink and cupboard area. If my guest, having heard the running water from the sink, suddenly realizes that he/she is in dire need of a toilet then all he/she must do do an About Face (180 degree turn) and walk 4 steps in a straight line past the bathroom sink/cupboard area and into the tub/toilet room. Upon completion of his/her business in the bathroom area my guest can return to the kitchen just in time to see me pulling a fresh baked batch of brownies out of my oven (with 4-range stove top).

Having gotten both food and drink, my guest and I will retire into the living room region of my quarters. The dresser/computer desk/entertainment center is situated on the same wall as the kitchen, though there is an open doorway between the two. On the other side of the living room is my bedroom. The bedroom is conveniently designed with no wall or separation of any type between it and the living room and the bedroom. An untrained eye might suggest it is all one room, but they of course would be wrong. There is a cosy two-chair round table pushed against the far wall that nicely divides the room. Of course, to watch TV my guest would have walk four steps to sit in my bedroom on either the recliner that is pushed up against the foot of my bed, or sit on my full size bed. While sitting and enjoying TV my guest can look around and notice that my bedroom/living room also include a nice built-in vanity with plenty of storage space, and a lockable closet with storage overhead.

As all new (or new to the owner) places go, my place does come with its own little quirks. For example, apparently my range-top light is wired to the two electrical outlets in my living room area. In order to have power going to those outlets the range light switch must be in the On position. However, if i have my computer plugged in one of the outlets and a lamp on my round table plugged in the other outlet, then the computer and lamp will both trade turns as to which one gets power leaving me with a lamp that goes on and off every half-second and no range-top light. Should I turn the lamp off completely the range-top light will occasionally turn on, though only for a minute or two. If I manually turn the range-top light off neither the lamp or the computer will have power going to their outlets. As much fun as this sounds, I plan on calling maintenance tomorrow.

Though I have to work out a few kinks, I do think I’ll enjoy living here. My new boss is actually my former company commander and one of the guys I’ll be working with was in my Beast squad at west point and also in my OBC class. Life here is what you make of it. I hope to make it a good time...and who knows, perhaps I’ll end up staying two years.